Search This Blog

Friday, May 27, 2011

Former Citizens Bank loan officer sentenced to 33 months for embezzlement in Nevada


A former commercial loan officer with Citizens Bank was sentenced in federal court to nearly three years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzlement and other charges.

Melvin Rohs, 65, of Nevada City, had pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication of bank officer or employee and two counts of making a false statement in connection with a loan application or renewal. According to court documents, the loss associated with his criminal conduct totals more than $2 million.
Rohs was sentenced Tuesday to 33 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $533,976 in restitution.
Rohs was a senior loan officer and assistant vice president at Citizens Bank until he was terminated in May 2009. The bank is based in Nevada City, with offices throughout Nevada County and in Auburn.
In December 2008, February 2009, and March 2009, Rohs initiated three unauthorized fund transfers from the account of one customer — UDC Sierra Cove — to the account of a second customer — Gordon Hellwig, doing business as California Land Title Co. — totaling $472,110.
On the last occasion, Rohs transferred money the day after Hellwig's credit line became overdrawn, falsely noting on the request that UDC Sierra Cove was buying land from Hellwig.
There did not appear to be anything other than a customer-client relationship between Rohs and Hellwig. Hellwig told an IRS investigator he was unaware of the transactions, adding he contacted Rohs on several occasions because his bank balances were not accurate.
Citizens Bank was unable to recover the transferred funds from California Land Title and was forced to swallow the losses.
Rohs also falsified Hellwig's loan documents in September 2008 and April 2009 by making false statements concerning his credit worthiness and by making an unauthorized increase to the loan approved by the bank.

ATM repairman accused of loading fake money in California

An employee of an ATM servicing company has been charged with swapping $200,000 in fake bills for real cash at machines in Daly City and San Francisco, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Samuel Kioskli, 64, of San Francisco was wanted on a warrant when he was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Phoenix on May 11, 10 months after the thefts, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Kioskli was an employee of Diebold, which services ATMs for Bank of America. On July 4, Kioskli went to six bank branches in San Francisco and one in Daly City and stole about $200,000 by replacing cash in the machine trays with counterfeit or photocopied $20 bills, Wagstaffe said.
Kioskli used his work card key to access the ATMs and was captured on video at all seven locations, authorities said.
The next day, Kioskli "abandoned his wife and disappeared," Wagstaffe said. His wife reported him missing, and angry Bank of America customers contacted the bank to complain about the fake money, authorities said.
Kioskli pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court to charges of burglary, embezzlement, forgery and possession of counterfeiting apparatus. He is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
He faces similar charges in San Francisco.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Las Vegas couple accused of embezzling $1.2 million pleads guilty from credit union

A Las Vegas couple pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of embezzling $1.2 million from a California credit union and filing a false income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Mireya Guadalupe Gonzalez, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling funds from Sharebuilders Federal Credit Union, a federally insured credit union in Northridge, Calif. In addition, Mireya and her husband, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, 35, each pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to false income tax returns.
A joint investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation unit in Los Angeles and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that between January 2005 and March 2007, Mireya worked as the manager of Sharebuilders FCU, and had access to computerized records and the ability to authorize transfers between accounts, according to her plea agreement.
Mireya Gonzalez allegedly identified several accounts that were inactive or had minimal funds on deposit and electronically transferred funds to a joint checking account with her husband and two accounts that were in her children’s names, according to IRS investigators. She also deposited funds from the general ledger accounts of Sharebuilders FCU to the family accounts, investigators said.
The embezzled money was used to buy personal items such as jewelry, automobiles and luxury items, officials said.
The withdrawals from the dormant accounts created large negative balances. Mireya Gonzalez allegedly covered up the fraudulent deposits to the Gonzalez accounts by changing names and numbers assigned to the dormant accounts, transferring balances to the dormant accounts from other accounts and providing false information to auditors hired by Sharebuilders FCU.
The National Credit Union Administration Board seized Sharebuilders FCU in April 2007 due to insolvency.
Mireya and Jorge Gonzalez failed to report the embezzled income on their joint tax returns, officials said. According to Mireya Gonzalez’s plea agreement, she and her husband didn’t report $676,000 in income for 2005, $338,000 for 2006 and $150,000 for 2007.
Mireya Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of 33 years in federal prison and fines up to $1.1 million. In addition, she will be required to pay full restitution to Sharebuilders FCU and the IRS. The amount will be determined before sentencing.
Jorge Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in federal prison and fines up to $100,000. Both are to be sentenced Sept. 26 by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee.